THERE has been conflicting narration of what truly transpires that led to Monday’s invasion of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Federal College of Agriculture and Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology all housed within the same premises at Moor Plantation, Apata Ibadan by men of the Oyo State Police Command. However, witnesses account shed more light on the furore as they narrated their ordeal.
The crisis, as gathered started on Monday morning when the students of Federal College of Agriculture were peacefully protesting against the leadership of the Provost of the institution, Dr. Babajide Adelekan.
According to the students, they were tired of prolonged strikes by workers of the institution and various crises that have been confronting his administration.
Mr. Emmanuel Olufemi Oladehinde, the Chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), IAR&T chapter, who condemned the police for allegedly shooting on peacefully protesting students while giving his eye witness account noted that though the students blocked the road but suddenly, the police started shooting bullets and canisters on all on sight without regard to anyone.
He narrated his ordeal further that the overzealous policemen led by a Divisional Police Officer ordered for his arrest and four other staff of the institution who were also brutalised by the same police.
Oladehinde disclosed that it took the intervention of the Area Commander who ordered for their release.
“I was at the spot, what really happened is that the students were making a peaceful demonstration, though they blocked the road, the policemen, they were there, suddenly, the police started shooting, so the students came inside the institute and the police officers said they cannot identify which one is staff and which one is student.
“So they started shooting gunshot, they started teargasing everybody on sight. I was even arrested, I was harassed. I went to the DPO and I said see, this is my identity, I am the NASU chairman of the institute, those one that were even arrested are staff of IAR&T and the DPO said they should arrest me too.
“I was arrested, they collected my wallet but later they returned my wallet to me, the police even stoned me, they stoned me in my hands and four of our staff were brutalised, they were detained, we went to the station to go and release them, it was the Area Commander that gave them the order that they should release them, so they were released.
“We took them to the hospital and we have discharged them from the hospital. But those that were shot are still in the UCH now, the information we learnt was that they are about to wheel the woman that was shot in the adornment to the theatre.
“So the second person, who was shot on the leg, is also there. That is the situation we found ourselves”, the chairman’s statement reads.
It would be recalled that the Oyo State Police Command through its Commissioner, Mr. Abiodun Odude claimed that no fewer than four policemen have been hospitalized after being injured during a clash between the police and students of the Federal College of Agriculture, Moor Plantation, Apata Ibadan, on Monday.
Odude also added that eight police vans were damaged in the clash.
“Four of them were injured and they are now in hospital. Eight police vans were destroyed too. We have to use force to push them back into the school. If you are students, it does not give you the liberty to break laws. Those who were arrested will be charged to court after due investigation”, the commissioner stressed.
Another staff of the institute who confided in our reporter demanded for thorough investigation of the police activities where several persons were injured.
The witness said, “there is a need to investigate the activities of the policemen, we don’t know who called them, what they did was very wrong. How can they just be shooting on innocent people like that?
“The police invaded the IAR&T and shot two of our staff and an IT student. Several other were also injured. I don’t have the picture now, but some of our staff and even students have the video. You can see, it is very unfortunate.
“And unfortunately, the bullets went straight to the innocent people, the old ones, it is not a rubber bullet, it is a real bullet.
“We shall see if it is rubber or real bullet, when they remove the bullets, that is when we will know who is lying”, he continued.
A staff who also spoke on the condition of anonymity lamented that the invasion has caused fear and psychological trauma to some of the staff especially the female who have made up their minds to resume to their places of work when the trouble started.
He, then appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris to as a matter of urgent importance investigate the overzealous policemen.
“It is bad for police in this era to invade an institution like this. The IG must hear this. This is condemnable and unfortunate. They have to pay for it”, he reiterated.
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